Zakat Foundation Reaches Out to Refugees on the Libyan Border

Zakat Foundation Reaches Out to Refugees on the Libyan Border

By Kiran Anari, Staff Writer from Chicago Crescent Issue: May 2011 Last updated: May 6, 2011

As the world watches turmoil in one country after the other, it is often easy to forget the refugees that are left homeless in every sense of the word. Donna Demir, a Chicago-area nurse recently returned from the Libyan-Tunisian border and shared with the Chicago Crescent her experience at the Zakat Foundation campsite that housed 300 refugees.

After spending two weeks on the Tunisian side of the border at the closest campsite to the Libya, she feels fortunate to be able to help provide food, water, toiletries and medical services like immunizations to the refugees that crossed the border every single day.

“Libyans were not allowed to leave the country, so instead we received several diplomats, workers from Bangladesh, Sudan and the Philippines. They had worked in Libya for 20 years and were leaving with nothing,” said Demir. “It was exceptionally hard to see the Somali and Sudanese people – because of their war-torn countries; they were double refugees with no place to go.”

Demir encourages the Chicagoland Muslim community to help these refugees with monetary donations. Firstly, because it is expensive and slow to ship clothes and other supplies and second, buying food and medicine locally can help support the businesses there. She believes that giving once is not going to be enough as these countries in North Africa and the Middle East are going to need consistent support in terms of sanitation, shelter and food to re-build their lives.

“Everyone can do something,” Demir said. “Don’t think any amount is too small. Even $5 or the change in your pocket when given with a clear intention and pure heart can blossom into much more.”

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